Page last updated at 08:21 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 09:21 UK

What the papers say


Journalist Liz Kennedy takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's morning papers.

The cost of the political deadlock is the lead in the Belfast Telegraph, which says 34,000 a day is going "down the drain".

The paper looks at how "the quiet crisis on the hill" is affecting a number of local issues and it points out that what makes the crisis so grave is there is "no obvious way out."

But a silver lining is said to be lurking in our financial woes, says the News Letter.

"Falling house prices should be welcomed," according to former finance minister, now First Minister Peter Robinson, quoted from a speech to an audience of bankers on Thursday night.

The reason he cites is that more young people will be able to get on to the housing ladder and he also points out that having average house prices at 10 times the average salary is "unsound and unsustainable."

So the revelation inside the Irish News that new one-bedroom apartments in Belfast are on sale for under 75,000 will cheer some in these chilly financial times.

The paper's lead is an education one, however, reporting that as many as six more Catholic grammar schools may be poised to continue academic testing after the end of the 11-plus.

Stepping down

But the big story of the day across the English papers is top policeman Sir Ian Blair's decision to step down.

It's the effect of politics on policing, according to many of the papers.

The Independent believes that the part played by the Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has provoked a political crisis over control of the country's largest police force.

The Guardian says a "Tory plot" forced Sir Ian from office, while the Times speaks of anger in the police service that Sir Ian Blair has fallen victim to party politics.

Meanwhile it's "Orde's on Favourite" according to the Daily Mirror, with PSNI chief Sir Hugh Orde once again said to be in the running for the big London job and top brass in Belfast "a little twitchy", according to an local unnamed police source.

The other major continuing theme is money.

In the daily song-sheet of global financial woes, the Daily Express warns that the flow of funds from the UK to the Republic may swiftly become a full-scale crisis.

But the Irish Independent leads with news of an investigation by the Irish Stock Exchange into a number of share dealings in a bank in the south, in the run-up to Taoiseach Brian Cowen's decision to shore up the financial institutions in that bail-out of banks.

'The duvet of history'

And Mr Cowen is quoted in the Irish Times making a very dark assessment of the current economic situation: "We're in extraordinary economic circumstances. We face stark choices. If we do not make the right ones, it will have catastrophic consequences."

But inside the paper, columnist Miriam Lord paints politics with a lighter brush-stroke, in a lively account of the marathon all-night sitting in the Seanad this week: sweaty shirts, the brave boys and girls who went over the top and the fallen, snoring under the "duvet of history".

History was made in Donegal this week, with a 478 kg catch - and that was just three fish.

For the cutting-edge menu, swordfish were the catch in Killybegs and they will be on diners' plates at top restaurants across the Republic this weekend, according to the Irish Independent.

The wholesaler who bought the trio says he has never before seen swordfish coming in to Killybegs.

The biggest one weighed a whopping 205 kg and they measure 8 to 10 feet without their swords, which, before you ask, are removed for safety reasons when they are landed.

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